Having fairly recently stumbled across the Discovery Channel series Alaskan Bush People, I wasn’t really prepared for just how invested some people are in this Alaskan reality TV show — or those like it. There are typically two very different, but equally emotional camps that people fall into.
First there are the people who get wrapped up in the stories and characters, who follow along with every detail…and who believe every painstakingly edited scene is the gospel truth. Seriously, how many deer hunts do you know of that are typically over in 15 minutes to a half an hour? Shows like Alaskan Bush People paint a great picture of an isolationist non-reality that some people who’ve never been anywhere near the bush of Alaska take as the gospel truth.
This gives rise to the second group of people typically drawn to Alaskan Bush People: Skeptics. It’s not enough to state the obvious, which is that a sizeable portion of the Discovery Channel darling can be dubbed inauthentic. Nope. Instead, there is an out-and-out crusade to get the show taken off the air “because it doesn’t represent real Alaskan bush people.”
Both groups may feel they have good reasons for being emotionally invested in Alaskan Bush People, but the truth is that whatever side of the issue you fall on (real and entertaining vs. fake and stupid), you’re wasting your time being so caught up. Here are four reasons to take a step back and not get so wrapped up in fighting about this one TV series.
First and foremost…it’s a television show. It makes as much sense to be angry at how the Alaskan Bush People is set up as it would be to be angry at the writing on Little House On The Prairie or The Waltons. Anyone who’s ever read a book on Michael Landon could tell you the man wasn’t squeaky clean. However, his character was the father that everyone wanted. That’s the point of good television. You are given whatever version of a character will be the most profitable to the network, whether they’re innocent and relatable or villainous and trashy.
I hate to break it to you, but this is every bit as true for a show like Alaskan Bush People as it is for practically all of the Real Housewives shows. If you feel that strongly about a TV show, and you aren’t directly impacted, it may be time to turn off the television and go for a long walk.
Second, if you happen to hate shows like Alaskan Bush People, you may think letting it be known how much you hate the Browns on every possible medium is the best way to get it off the air. Even if you call yourself “exposing” the people behind the show, you’ve actually caused far more harm to your cause than helped it. You see…producers don’t care about your hate — all they care about is ratings. Hate watching shows helps boost ratings. Driving up interest in the show by talking about it everywhere? Also helps ratings.
The criminal scandal that you was sure would get Alaskan Bush People canceled? Sorry, that only generated even more interest. Talking about a series you hate is the opposite route to take if you want it gone. You stop watching, and you complain to sponsors (those advertisers you see during commercial breaks). Only when earnings are threatened are shows like this threatened. Your hostility alone accomplishes nothing. Sorry!
Third…it’s actually a good entertaining series. As someone who watched it and enjoyed it for what it was (while understanding it was very VERY scripted), I wasn’t bothered. If you treat the characters as just characters, you have a memorable and moving bit of TV. When you want the show to represent reality, and hate it for not doing so, that’s when you run into trouble.
When you compare the Alaskan Bush People to certain other things on TV right now, it’s fairly harmless. There’s hardly any bad language. The children and adults are well-mannered. They work together to solve problems. And there’s no nudity and whatever violence there is involves hunting for food. It’s probably one of the least offensive programs on the air at the moment. If I had to choose between Alaskan Bush People and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, I wouldn’t hesitate to put the latter in the nearest trash can. Just my opinion — and a friendly reminder that it could be MUCH worse.
Last, and certainly not least, the state of Alaska has already made it possible for Alaska-based programs, documentaries, and movies to be filmed for relatively cheap over the next decade. So even if Alaskan Bush People were to magically disappear from the airwaves, it would be quickly replaced by a profitable clone. Sorry, folks, but this is all on the Alaska state government.
Be honest: Do you consider yourself heavily invested in Alaskan Bush People? Share why or why not in the comment section below!
[Image via screen grab from the Discovery Channel/YouTube]